Dramatic Developments in Dentistry
GETTING the cavities in your teeth fixed without a lot of drilling probably sounds a lot more like music to your ears than the whine of the dentist’s drill does. And if other dental procedures, such as the fitting and wearing of braces, capping of teeth, or tooth replacement, are also not your idea of pleasant experiences, then recent dramatic developments in the field of dentistry may indeed sound like beautiful music to you.
◻ According to an Associated Press report from Boston, U.S.A., there is now available to dentists a liquid (Caridex) that can easily remove all decayed matter from a tooth. “The solution works almost immediately on decay, which is decalcified material, but will not act on calcified, healthy teeth,” the article explains.
Use of the liquid, which now has government approval in the United States, can reduce drilling by as much as 80 percent. This also means a reduction in the amount of pain and, in turn, a diminishing of the fear and stress that usually accompany drilling and even the anticipation of it.
◻ Another report, in The Sunday Star of Toronto, Canada, tells of a new “natural” cement for fillings that its developers in Maryland, U.S.A., say is “bio compatible with living tissues in the body.” They claim that hydroxyapatite reverses decay and “becomes part of the tooth.” Researchers at the American Dental Health Foundation hope the substance will be approved for public use in about five years.
◻ Other developments in dentistry will be of interest to those who may have different dental problems, such as unsightly gaps between teeth or chipped, broken, discolored, and twisted teeth. In one office visit—and in the time it takes to drill and fill a single tooth—the gaps can be filled in with a cosmetic bonding now in use in the United States and Canada. In most cases, braces are no longer needed. Bonding can also take the place of capping discolored or broken teeth. Thus the costly and time-consuming trauma of present treatments can be replaced by a most welcome and immediately improved appearance, says The Toronto Star of Canada.
◻ Finally, offering hope to those who lose some or all of their teeth because of accident or gum disease, or who may no longer be able to wear dentures because of shrinkage of the jawbone, is a report in the magazine Leaders on “a process known as osseointegration, the attachment of living bone to the inert metal titanium.” The surgically implanted titanium “roots” and the bone integrate, in a three- to six-month period, to restore the “toothless jaw to its natural state.”
Then follows a series of appointments for “impressions, bite registration, tooth selection and bridge fittings. These completed, the patient now receives his permanent, bone-anchored, fixed bridge,” the article says. Costs are about the same as for standard bridgework. Some 300 Americans had this treatment in 1984, about 700 in 1985. The procedure is described as “safe and permanent.”